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Take mine I was told, as I was handed the keys to a Rover 3500 V8.
That was in 1979 when at the time my new Rover 2600 SD1 was in the service centre of Hartwell of Abingdon to have a fault rectified. Those keys belonged to the Sales Manager who was embarrassed that my car needed attention so soon after delivery.
I was going back to my office in Oxford and I was only a stone’s throw from the then new section of the A34 so I headed off on to it.
In an instant I realised that the V8 3.5 litre engine was very different to my 2.6 Litre but up until then I had never really thought about the possibility of the difference between the two cars being very noticeable.
How wrong I was. That V8 was just amazing in comparison, frightening is not the wrong word, when applied to my inexperience of not only that particular car but any car with real power under the bonnet.
A few years earlier I did drive a Jaguar V12 E Type from Eton to Maidenhead, but at no point did I experience the sheer power of the car because I had promised that I would not do anything daft; and anyway the owner was sitting beside me.
That Rover V8 was very different to my Rover 2600 and I can remember clearly today the exhilaration I experienced travelling back to Oxford on that very hot and sunny day with the air conditioning cooling the car and David Bowie’s Ground Control to Major Tom playing on the radio, which just made the whole experience, well today we might say mental or perhaps wicked.
Imagine then the thoughts that I had on Saturday when Dave of http://spires-st.com/, a forum Sponsor, invited me to take his car out in to the Cambridgeshire countryside.
Actually, at the outset, my thoughts were that I would not perceive much of a difference and would not be able to justify the cost of the modifications to their XF2.7 Luxury in Lunar Grey with very special 20 inch wheels and lowered suspension.
How wrong I was, it was incredible.
My wife came along with us and she too was amazed at the sensation of raw power rocketing us off from a standing start. I have only ever once before sensed the deployment of the DSC in my own car but within three minutes of being in this one we all noticed that the car’s track had been arrested and we were, without any fuss, put back on the straight and narrow, albeit that the Road Angel high speed alarm was triggered to bring home to me that this car was very, very different to my own in terms of acceleration.
When we joined Dave earlier in the day I had asked if he would mind if I stuck my Road Angel to the screen, I did not want to take any chances travelling in perhaps unfamiliar territory in a car which was said to be quick.
My Road Angel sounded alarms on quite a few occasions, at 80 mph it sounds a gong, flashes red and in essence is saying “on your own head be it; you have been warned”.
On one occasion, after accelerating from about 55mph the alarm was triggered in seconds. All of this means that the car’s responsiveness in the mid range is truly phenomenal. I watched the Road Angel speed indicator fall down from 88mph and that was after I glanced at it so I can only imagine that the actual top speed I achieved was even higher. That is really the aspect of performance enhancement which causes me most concern. Yes, I know that is what it is all about but the truth is that I don’t want or need the adrenaline rush induced by high speed driving on the A14 with its "Specs" cameras and monstrous casualty record.
Twenty or so years younger and no doubt my attitude would be to coin a phrase of George Dubya “bring it on”
In addition to the obvious massive increase in power compared to my car, incidentally, I did not go out in my car until today because I did not want to have the experience of the Spires car fresh in my mind when I returned to it, there is also the obvious differences between the exhaust system and to a lesser degree, the suspension.
I had thought that expenditure on the exhaust modification would be a waste, simply because the only beneficiary, if that is the right word, would be the occasional petrolhead who has dragged himself away from his own heart’s desire to listen for another like minded looney. Or for real value for money one would have to drive around with the windows down to capture the resonance of the four very distinctive tailpipes.
All wrong, the exhaust note can be detected, with the windows up, and yes, it does sound really rather good, much better I am sure for others on the outside so you might just regard the expense as a charitable donation to petrolheads.
Inside when the DPF system is doing its stuff, at least that is what Dave said was going on, the note changed to a very serious rumble and it was, very rewarding. I can imagine that many would buy the system for that sound alone. I did slide the window down at one point simply to hear what others were hearing but quickly put it up again in favour of the reassuring note that is just detectable when driving along normally.
As for the suspension; well there is not much I can say about that. I am not ordinarily fast into the bends and exit like lightning driver and so I have never thought there was any need to tinker with the present set up. I am happy to accept Spires claim that the benefit is real and valuable to those that do indulge in truly spirited driving or have the cash to enjoy the occasional track day.
Similarly with the 20 inch wheels, not something I would want on my car, but if I could just have their looks, well that would be really excellent.
I suppose the important point about both the wheels and the suspension is that I and my wife, who was in the back and who incidentally declined the offer to take the wheel, did not have any real perception of difference between our own car and this one. We understood that the ride was firmer and that it was able to deal with pot holes and road bumps in a fairly graceful manner. In truth we can only say the state of all roads after the recent winter weather is such that it isn’t easy to detect much difference between the two cars. It is interesting that my wife did think that there was a marked difference in the comfort level of the seats and that it was the difference between the soft grain leather on our PL and the bond grain of the Luxury. I had noticed a difference when first sitting in the car but the quality of leather was not something I had considered.

Now of course, enjoying an afternoon in the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire countryside, trumpeting our arrival and departure through picturesque villages complete with Maypole and duck ponds, in a car with an exhaust note more familiar to residents a few miles north at Silverstone, the question is begged; would I spend the money and have the Spires St modifications incorporated into my car :?:
Simple, my heart says absolutely yes but my head says don’t you dare.
Would I recommend that others go for it. Again the answer is simple. If you fall in to any of the first four age bracket categories shown in our poll, see link below, the answer is an emphatic yes and yes again. If, like me you are in the upper age range, ask yourself, why on earth would I want to give up the sheer luxury and ample power of my present set up and risk life and limb because, make no mistake, unlike zx10ben, who admits to growing horns when he is on an unrestricted road in Germany, that same demon that afflicts him, may not appear on your head but it will be for sure, under your shoe.

Are you the right age to let your hair down :?:
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=862



Play this and keep your foot away from the accelerator :lol:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFks9A9TCF0
 

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That makes for some interesting reading there, it's interesting to hear what a current owner of a 2.7L thought of the tuned car. I expected you to say the changes that you experienced were not noticable enough to justify the expense. I find it amazing that Spires managed to eke out an extra 40-or-so BHP.

Now, if I were to consider the upgrades I'd be leaving the wheels (although they do look fantastic) and suspension alone. I would seriously love to have the exhausts but I do like the standard ones. The main thing for me would almost certainly be the engine-map. I'd love to be sneaky and race another 2.7L without the upgrades, with my car still discreet as it remains looking standard.

Now I find the current car plenty fast enough, but maybe that's due to me having a couple of TD4 Freelanders (0-60mph - 15 seconds!) and Audi A4 2.0 TDIs.

Well I honestly can't think of anything left to say other than, I envy you trying the car Pekem! :p
 

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That would be great! :)

I'm about 7 miles from Glasgow but seeing as everyone seems to be setting their locations in Counties I thought I would copy! :lol:
 

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:lol: :oops: I thought you were serious! I expected you to bring this car to me! :) :lol:

Oh well never mind... Next time I'm near, I'll give you a shout! ;) :lol:
 
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